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Esteban Ocon

Ocon hits out at 'gross distortions' in powerful statement

Esteban Ocon's future with the Alpine team has been under speculation after he collided with team-mate Pierre Gasly at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Ocon Monaco
To news overview © XPBimages

Esteban Ocon has issued a statement over social media after receiving online abuse as a result of his first lap incident with team-mate Pierre Gasly at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The French driver tripped over the other Alpine after an ambitious lunge up the inside of Portier on the opening lap. 

It launched the backend of his car into the air and caused extensive damage - preventing Ocon from making the restart, despite a lengthy red flag stoppage.

In the aftermath of the collision, the 27-year-old was widely condemned on social media and by pundits and commentators alike for an accident deemed wholly his fault.

The stewards initially gave him a 10-second time penalty, but as Ocon was already out of the race, that was pushed back to a five-place grid drop at the next race, the Canadian Grand Prix. He also received two penalty points on his FIA super licence.

Alpine team principal Bruno Famin aired his frustration live on TV in the wake of the crash, giving a full-throated dressing down of his driver and claiming in no ambiguous terms that there would be “consequences” for Ocon’s actions.

This sparked a flurry of speculation that the one-time race winner would be benched for the round in Montreal. 

However, that appears to not be the case, with Ocon confirming he will be racing in Canada while also taking issue with the reaction to the incident.

Ocon statement in full

“Much has been said in the aftermath of the Monaco Grand Prix. While I have received many messages of support, I have been deeply saddened by the amount of abuse and negativity that I have received online regarding my character, my driving, and my career.

"Thanks to the hard work, support, and sacrifices of many people, I've raced in over 140 Grands Prix so far since my debut in 2016. I have always been a tough competitor, and, like most drivers, I've had my share of incidents.

"I have been lucky to race alongside talented and experienced team-mates, including race winners Daniel [Ricciardo], Checo [Sergio Perez] and Pierre, and a double champion in Fernando [Alonso].

"As team-mates, we would often start races very close to each other which in some cases meant some tough battles on track, and sometimes contact.

"Of course, I have made honest mistakes. We are not robots; we are athletes pushing ourselves to the limit every day to achieve our dreams of winning races. F1 is a sport where emotions run high, and passions run deep.

"I see and feel this every weekend at the track and on social media… the good and the bad. But the misinformed statements and gross distortions that I have seen online in recent days about my ability to work with a team have been inaccurate, hurtful, and damaging.

"Since my first laps in motorsport, I have approached this sport with humility, professionalism, and respect. These values were instilled in me from a very young age.

"While each driver chases individual glory, this will always be a team sport first and foremost. I have always followed the instructions I have been given and raced to achieve the maximum for and with my team.

"I took responsibility for the incident on lap 1 last Sunday and, despite my DNF, I am glad the team added a point to the tally in what has been a difficult start to the season for all of us," he continued.

"I respect Pierre as a team-mate and as a competitor. We have always worked collaboratively and professionally inside the team, and this will continue to be the case.

"There is no reward without risk in Formula 1 - and race starts are intense, even more so in Monaco where the opening lap can dictate your finishing result.

"In the end, we are all competitors and hard, fair racing throughout the field is what makes our sport so great and the main reason why I love this sport so much.“

“I'm looking forward to competing in Montreal, in front of the fantastic Canadian fans, and to the exciting opportunities the future holds."

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